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Ali Al-Marri pleads guilty to being sleeper agent for al-Qaeda in the U.S.

April 30, 2009

Al-Qaeda Operative, Ali Al-Marri, Pleads Guilty To Terror Plot

May 1, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - - Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, 43, a dual national of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda.

Al-Marri entered the guilty plea at a hearing yesterday before Judge Michael M. Mihm in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. Al-Marri admitted that he agreed with others to provide material support or resources to al-Qaeda in the form of personnel, including himself, to work under al-Qaeda's direction and control with the intent to further the terrorist activity or terrorism objectives of al-Qaeda.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 30 and he could face up to 15 years in prison.

About the case, David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division states, "The facts admitted by al-Marri today demonstrate that he attended terrorist training camps, learned al-Qaeda tradecraft and was dispatched by the highest levels of al-Qaeda to carry out its terrorist objectives in America. The many agents, analysts and prosecutors who worked tirelessly on this investigation and prosecution deserve special thanks for their efforts."

Arthur M. Cummings, II, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI's National Security Branch added, "Ali al-Marri was an al-Qaeda 'sleeper' operative working on U.S. soil and directed by the chief planner of the 9-11 attacks. Al-Marri researched the use of chemical weapons, potential targets and maximum casualties. The investigation that disrupted his plot began with tips from local police partners. The investigation that followed took the FBI agents and task force officers around the globe to develop the intelligence to prevent any potential attack and the evidence to bring al-Marri to justice."

Jeffrey B. Lang, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois outlined al-Marri's involvement in the plot, "Ali al-Marri [yesterday] admitted that he traveled to central Illinois as an al-Qaeda operative the day before the Sept.11, 2001, attacks to plan and prepare for future acts of terrorism within the United States. Al-Marri's admissions, in open court and after again being advised of his right to a jury trial, confirm the many details of the government's findings as a result of the exemplary investigative efforts by the FBI and other agencies."


Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder on Guilty Plea by Ali Al-Marri

WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "A short while ago, in an Illinois courtroom, Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to the al-Qaeda terrorist network. By entering into this agreement, al-Marri admitted that he worked for and provided material support to al-Qaeda with the intent to further its terrorism objectives and activities here in the United States.

"Without a doubt, this case is a grim reminder of the seriousness of the threat we, as a nation, still face. But it also reflects what we can achieve when we have faith in our criminal justice system and are unwavering in our commitment to the values upon which this nation was founded and the rule of law.

"Just days after taking the oath of office, President Obama directed me to lead an interagency review of the al-Marri case. At the time, al-Marri had been sitting in a naval brig in South Carolina for more than five years facing no charges.

"As a result of that review and an examination of the evidence gathered during the extensive investigation of al-Marri by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, we decided to charge al-Marri in federal court. In February, a federal grand jury in Illinois indicted al-Marri on two counts of providing and conspiring with others to provide material support to al-Qaeda.

"That led us to where we are today - the resolution of this case that will send al-Marri to prison for up to 15 years.

"There are many milestones we achieve today, not the least of which are -

-- The conviction of an al-Qaeda sleeper agent captured in the United States;

-- The certainty that our criminal justice system can and will hold terrorists accountable for their actions, and;

-- The triumph of the exhaustive efforts of dedicated professionals at the Justice Department and many other agencies involved in this case.

"The Department of Justice is resolved to protect the American people in a manner consistent with our values and to prosecute alleged terrorists to the full extent of the law.

"Our nation will be stronger - and safer - for that approach.

"There are many goals to which we aspire, but none more important than defending our nation and its citizens from acts of terrorism while ensuring we abide by the rule of law and the spirit of our Constitution.

"I can say to you today that the Justice Department met that challenge in this case.

"We will be unwavering in the defense of our country, its citizens and the values that define us as a nation. We will keep the American people safe and our civil liberties intact - there is not a tension between the two. Let this serve as a warning to all those who might do us harm: you will be hunted down, you will be held accountable. Nothing will prevent the full might of the American government and its people and allies from vanquishing those who might try to do us harm, wherever you are.

"I would like to thank all of the law enforcement officers and prosecutors who dedicated so much to this case and this outcome, including the National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Springfield, Illinois, the U.S. Attorneys offices for the Central District of Illinois and the District of South Carolina, and many other federal, state and local agencies."

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice


Al Qaeda Sleeper Agent Pleads Guilty to Terror Charges

Thursday, April 30, 2009 Associated Press,2933,518546,00.html
PEORIA, Ill. An alleged Al Qaeda sleeper agent who was locked up without being charged for years pleaded guilty Thursday to supporting terrorism in the months before and immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. Ali al-Marri, 43, a married father of five who was attending college in this central Illinois city when he was arrested, admitted to one count of conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

He faces up to 15 years in prison at his July 30 sentencing. "We thought (the plea) was the right approach to take based on the evidence the government allowed us to review over the last several weeks," said al-Marri's attorney, Andy Savage. Plea negotiations have been going on since before al-Marri's initial court appearance in March, Savage said. "It was not an easy negotiation," he said.

Al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident and native of Qatar, was arrested in late 2001 while studying at Bradley University after federal authorities alleged he was tied to organizers of the 2001 attacks. The Bush administration declared al-Marri an "enemy combatant" in late 2001 and held him without charges for more than five years at a Navy jail in South Carolina.

The designation was dropped when he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Illinois. Al-Marri got a bachelor's degree in business management administration from Bradley in 1991, then went to work for a bank in Qatar.

The government said he met with Usama bin Laden in the summer of 2001 and was sent to the U.S. to help Al Qaeda operatives carry out post-Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Al-Marri obtained a student visa and returned to the U.S. the day before terrorists crashed two hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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